The Princess Royal has officially opened the new Corpach Marina.
HRH Princess Anne cut the ribbon during one of two visits in Lochaber on Tuesday.
The royal visitor made her first appearance of the day at the Lochaber Rural Education Trust (LRET). However, this was not her first time visiting.
She opened the Ben Nevis Auction Mart at the LRET in 1999. Photographs from the event can still be seen at LRET today.
Upon arrival, Princess Anne was greeted by piper and Lochaber High School student Alex Drysdale.
Princess Anne wore a red jacket, a tartan dress and navy gloves. Her white sunglasses also made an appearance today due to the particularly sunny weather.
Isabel Campbell MBE is a founding member and trustee of the LRET, and was also present when Princess Anne first visited in 1999.
Isabel says it feels ‘wonderful’ to see her again.
The Princess ‘speaks and engages with all ages’
“She remembers the day she opened the auction mart well – she is a super person,” Isabel recalls fondly.
“She speaks and she engages with all ages.”
Over 50 local school children were part of the event.
Jacqueline MacLeod works in Lochaber High School with those who require additional support.
The children often use the facility for educational and recreational purposes, including the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).
Jacqueline says she and the students were ‘honoured’ to meet the The Princess Royal.
“We get a lot of enjoyment out of the centre,” says Jacqueline. “So it was nice to return the honour.”
Present from the RDA was Mandy Watson, and group organiser Clair Cameron. Lochaber High School students were able to ride a cart, pulled by Red the cob horse.
Thomas Telford Corpach Marina are ‘honoured’
HRH Princess Anne’s second appearance of the day was to declare the Thomas Telford Corpach Marina open.
Upon arrival, HRH Princess Anne was welcomed by Andy McKenna, chairman of the Thomas Telford Corpach Marina.
The project was in development for just over eight years.
Now complete, the layout has a “fully sheltered, all-weather marina and public slipway”, as well as a car-park for marina users.
There are berths for over 40 yachts and motor vessels, and small dayboats which float in shallow waters.
New facilities also include showers, toilets, a bike shelter and An Cafaidh Mara – a dog friendly cafe which opened January 2023.
Once the Princess cut the red ribbon, Corpach’s marina was declared open at last.
Robert Coull, owner of An Cafaidh Mara, says it is ‘really exciting’ day for everyone involved.
“The cafe has been a long time in the making,” he says. “It is nice to see the marina finally open.”
‘An absolute privilege’
The Princess spoke to many of the Corpach marina’s trustees, including Linda Campbell.
Linda says it feels ‘absolutely wonderful’ to see the Thomas Telford Corpach Marina open.
“It has taken many years,” she says. “For it to come to fruition on such a wonderful Lochaber day is marvellous.”
Also thrilled to meet HRH Princess Anne were young attendees Benji, aged six, and sister Ella, aged four.
They presented the Princess with a colourful bouquet of fresh flowers hand-picked from their garden.
Their mother said: “It was an absolute privilege to meet her.”
At the end of the opening, Princess Anne revealed a plaque which marked the occasion of the marina’s opening.
A Thomas Telford Corpach Marina spokesperson said: “We are delighted and honoured to have HRH The Princess Royal open our state of the art marina facilities today.”